ncsoft

A major global studio based in South Korea, known in the west for games like WildStar, Guild Wars 2, and Aion, among many others.

SuperData April 2017: Smooth sailing for World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Hearthstone

SuperData’s April worldwide digital video games market summary has arrived, and with it we get a glimpse into the top gaming studios. And only the tippy top.

Irritatingly, World of Warcraft has once again been split into east and west, contrary to every other game on the chart. SuperData had split the game for its January report, botched the entries in February and hastily repaired its graphic to rejoin the two, and for March, the WoWs were one from the get-go. Now they’re two again.

The upside for WoW is that its western branch pulled out ahead of World of Tanks in terms of revenue (Tanks was beating a combined WoW last month). Dungeon Fighter Online and New Westward Journey Online II have swapped positions, while the addition of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (and separated WoWs) has pushed Lineage I and Wildlands out of the top 10 entirely. Wildlands dropped down the console list as well; ARK Survival Evolved and Mass Effect Andromeda have dropped from the console chart altogether.

On the mobile side, Pokemon Go held steady, but Lineage 2 Revolution continues creeping upward.

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Perfect Ten: Understanding MMORPG Warriors

There is always a Warrior. Every game has a Warrior. No matter what other class options it has, a Warrior is in that list. Star Wars: The Old Republic takes place in a galaxy far, far away (and thousands of years before the more well-established long time ago) where you have force adepts instead of mages or healers, operatives and Force assassins instead of rogues, and… Sith Warriors. And Sith Warriors still manage to tick off every single box on the Warrior Bingo card, which is why this is a list as opposed to just a bingo card.

I feel I have a reasonable and healthy relationship with Warriors. There are some games with Warriors I love, some with Warriors I don’t like, but in every single one I can make immediate assumptions just because it’s called a Warrior. From Guild Wars 2 to World of Warcraft, from Final Fantasy XI to Final Fantasy XIV, if you see something called a Warrior, you know what you’re getting into.

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One Shots: Head of the class

What do you do if you’re a sentient stone head who has been tasked with centuries of guard duty? You probably do a lot of lounging around on a cushy chair, waiting for some Dudley Do Right to wander your way and agree to do your job for you.

Miol sends in this odd Guild Wars 2 shot from the Living Story Season 3 in response to my call for goofy screenshots: “How about a literal talking head? Silly enough?” Well, it’s noggin I like, but noggin I hate, either.

Yeah, I’ll just show myself out. Sorry about that.

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Check out Bog Otter’s guide to returning to Guild Wars 2 as a Heart of Thorns noob

So let’s say you’re somebody like MOP’s Justin — somebody who liked Guild Wars 2 way back in the day but didn’t consider picking up Heart of Thorns until recently when the price came tumbling down and the upcoming expansion leaks sent you hunting for your wallet. Where do you start with content that’s been out a long time and has undergone dramatic changes in its almost two years?

Friend of Massively OP Richie “Bog Otter” Procopio has a few ideas, and he’s chronicled them in a new video on his YouTube channel, one in a multi-part “boomerangs” series on returning to Guild Wars 2. He takes viewers through getting to the expansion maps, which masteries to work on first (gliding!), the Revenant class, class specs, fractals, raiding, guild halls, dailies, the living story episodes, PvP, and on and on. Even somebody who plays Heart of Thorns is probably going to learn something from the video, so it’s worth a watch!

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Boot up your Age of Conan account for a free level 80 toon on its ninth birthday

So, Age of Conan players. Let’s talk. I know this year has been kinda rough on you. You found out, as we did, that your game was going to be maintenance-moded just a few months ago in a tiny aside in a financial letter to corporate investors. That hurt. And your baby brother, Conan Exiles, has sucked up all of dad’s attention. And money. You could rant at the unfairness of it all, or you could be grateful that at least you’re not being sunsetted like so many great MMORPGs before you. I won’t judge you for either.

But if you are playing, or think you might someday again, maybe take a peek right now as the elder Conan game turns nine years old. Yes, nine years ago this very month, we all logged into Tortage… no, actually, let’s not talk about Tortage. It’s birthday time. And Funcom is trying to make it worth your while with a free level 80 character boost and a free character slot, as long as you had an account before today, and as long as you log in before May runs out.

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Guild Wars 2 drops extensive class balance patch

Players logging into Guild Wars 2 yesterday might have found that their classes were changed quite a lot, thanks to a rather extensive balance patch. It appears that there are more buffs than nerfs going on in this update, although change is never universally embraced.

All nine classes received a host of adjustments, each with their own explanation as to why the developers thought these changes were necessary. Elementalist’s got nerfed in PvP, Engineers saw a change to turrets, Guardians’ signets were reworked, Mesmer phantasms received new attacks, Necromancer revamped Epidemic, Ranger attempted to draw focus off the torch, Revenant got more trait synergy, Thief’s short bow was upgrade to do AoE damage, and Warrior’s axe was improved.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 117: Starfall no more

Kind of a weird and fascinating week for MMOs, as an expansion has a legal showdown with a charity, a western MMO is announced, and Vvardenfell decided to come to us two weeks early. Is the industry shaping up for the most explosive June on record? It might just be!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Unpacking Guild Wars 2’s Flashpoint

I’ve managed to calm myself enough after finishing my Guild Wars 2 Flashpoint initial impressions piece two weeks ago to bring you a much more detailed look at the action-packed episode that is the penultimate instalment in the Living World’s eventful third season. The story contains so many twists and turns that you’ll be dizzy by the end, and in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months and missed all the hype about this content drop, you’ll want to know that Lazarus’ true identity is revealed within Flashpoint.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll unpack the reveals and angles taken by the penultimate episode of Season 3 and will share my most and least favourite aspects of the episode while I’m at it. This article will contain significant spoilers and is not safe to read for those who haven’t completed Flashpoint and have managed to avoid the spoilers so far. You can always bookmark this one to come back to whenever you have managed to find time to enjoy the content for yourself.

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Netmarble’s trading debut in Korea was freakin’ huge

Back in April, Tencent subsidiary Netmarble raised $2.3 billion in shares sold to investors during the first phase of its IPO, helping it reach a total company value of $11.8 billion and marking it as the second-largest initial public offering in the country’s history. Today, however, the company went fully public as it made its trading debut on the Korea Exchange, and the public… well, they like it. They really, really like it.

“Shares in the mobile game developer and publisher ended 3.2 percent higher at 162,000 won in Seoul, after rising as high as 9.2 percent above the initial public offering price,” Bloomberg reports. “The company now has a market value of about 13.7 trillion won ($12.2 billion), surpassing LG Electronics Inc.”

Yes, the company that makes mobile MMO Lineage II: Revolution is now worth more than the company that makes the phones you probably play it on.

Source: Bloomberg. Thanks, BrotherMaynard!

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Massively Overthinking: Is the MMO genre facing an identity crisis?

MMORPG blogger and MOP commenter Isarii (@ethanmacfie) recently published an excellent video positing that the MMO industry is facing a “massive identity crisis.”

“The MMO genre has sort of walked away from the things that made it unique and has faced an identity crisis since then as MMOs have reinvented themselves as these big giant titles trying to appeal to as many people as possible,” he argues. “As a result, you end up with MMOs that try to do things that smaller scale games tend to do better while not doing any of the things that make MMOs themselves unique.”

The whole video is worth a look-and-listen as he pins down what exactly does make MMOs unique and which MMOs have excelled as actual MMOs (protip: It’s everything from EVE to SWG to WoW, so don’t think this is about subgenre elitism at all). What do you think? Is Isarii right? Is the genre facing an identity crisis? And how do we solve it? That’s what our writers will be debating in this week’s Massively Overthinking.

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Ship of Heroes explores its spaceship mission maps

Raise your hand if you’re a superhero MMORPG fan who really, really wants to see good mission maps. None of this office building #3457225 stuff. That’s all of you, right? Good. City of Heroes-inspired indie superhero MMORPG Ship of Heroes has a new video out today demoing one such mission map. In a normal city on Earth, the area would be the sewer — the area directly under the city. But since Ship of Heroes is set on a domed city on a gargantuan spaceship, the area below Apotheosis City is just… spaceship corridors.

“The Justice has twenty ship levels, each of which can have above ground and below ground playable areas. This video illustrates the Sci-Fi themed environment that is below the surface of the first level, called Apotheosis City. Multiple rooms and corridors are shown, including the first layer of a deep section directly underneath the Arch in the center of the city. In addition three classes of crew are shown: security guards in the Arch room, plus scientists and crewmen, in their work clothes. A major control hub is also shown, as is a security room with a mysterious item kept under lock and key. While all of the art, layout, lighting, arrangement of assets, and special effects shown in the video are preliminary, they do provide insight into the current state of development and the intended art style of the Ship of Heroes. AI for the civilian NPCs in the video has been coded by the devs from Ship of Heroes. This setting is the most current example of an instanced mission map for the game.”

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NCsoft’s Q1 2017 financials: Tumbles for Lineage, Guild Wars 2, plus new leadership for Lineage Eternal

NCsoft’s first quarter financials for 2017 have released, and… well, let’s get the bad news out of the way. While sales dropped only slightly since the preceding quarter and in line with last year, the company’s operating profits and incomes fell sharply, in the -60 to -77% range both quarter over quarter and year over year. The company says that’s “due to incentives paid on the back of record-high earnings last year.” In particular, Lineage 1’s sales were down significantly on the quarter and the year (“due to the early sales recognition in 4Q and weaker traffic from anticipated Lineage M demand”). Aion’s and Lineage II’s sales dropped ever so slightly, as did Guild Wars 2’s, which has fallen by more than half following the late 2015 launch of Heart of Thorns.

The good news? Blade and Soul saw a small boost.

During the conference call, NCsoft announced that it has overturned the development leadership working on Lineage Eternal, suggesting that the closed beta failed to “reflect NCsoft’s characteristics” and promising a retooled dev schedule in the months ahead.

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Valiance Online’s capital city hall is ‘akin to the Pentagon’ for supers

Back in April, Silverhelm Studios told players it was instituting “big changes” in the way it was rolling out information for City of Heroes-inspired indie MMORPG Valiance Online, with a renewed emphasis on transparency. So far it’s delivered on that promise, as over the course of just the last few weeks, it’s begun posting development roadmap snapshots, mulled over sidekicking, previewed in-game buildings, and posted a map of the game world.

This week, it’s posted another look at the city hall of Skyeline, a tiered building with more lore than you can shake a cape at.

“The final structure that stands today is as glorious in appearance as it is in capability. Made from an amalgam of composite and newly generated Haelan brand synthetic metals, City Hall is a bastion of gleaming silver, mirrored glass and alabaster stone. It has multiple floors that begin on the lower second tier of Skyeline’s layers and proceeds twenty stories tall to end above the third tier. The building’s bowed hexagonal arch shape allows visitors to the city to walk under city hall to the Prisma Celeste and Memorial grounds beyond. A series of white marble and bronze accented stairs leads up either side of the main entrance to the many offices of the various departments contained within.”

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